Why is design important for commodities such as white towels?

A consumer, when looking at two white towels, may never know that they were manufactured by different companies. Two white towels, two mops, two rags perform the same job, with similar attributes, and are (in various degrees) consumable products. So why go through the trouble of designing labels, inserts, and marketing materials for commodities?

The truth is that even renewable commodities will sell better when presented well. When you invest in impactful packaging you can tell a story and educate your customers about why your product is better than the generic equivalent.

A recent study by MeadWestvaco on packaging revealed that packaging accounts for 36% of purchase intent. As ecommerce bites more of the wholesale apple, products must compete on the screen without the benefit of a sales force to promote them. All things being equal you’re going to choose the branded bar mop bag.

Re-envisioned work benefits from a fresh perspective too. I inherited the product on the left when I joined the firm. The two packs of kitchen towels are identical in construction, put-up, and specs. However, when we re-branded the line under Sloppy Chef sales quadrupled. Both lines also included a six-pack of dishcloths, and now we’ve added a 4 pack of bar mops to the mix.

Many of the companies we work with have been run by families for generations. They are a known, reliable, source for equipping their customers with essential textiles for the job. These companies have an opportunity to leverage brand equity built over generations to launch proprietary product lines.

When you brand your textiles packaging and labels you extend your brand to the consumer, and the consumer will begin to ask for your branded products. It’s a classic pull-through marketing strategy that yields results. I often field emails from consumers who have bought through our distributors.

Why is design important For example: A small hotel lodge recently needed to reorder Magellan towels. The manager was new and did not know where the previous manager ordered the towels from. As Magellan is branded on the label, they conducted an internet search and reached out. I found them a local distributor who carried our products and gave them a national online retail alternative too. If our distributor had branded the towels, they would have fielded the call.

We private label several lines for customers. In fact, you may have used our Why is design important products in the past and never have known it. We also support customers with their own branded marketing collateral to help boost sales.

People confuse brand with design*. Design and packaging is vitally important to a brands’ first impression and connection to consumers. Design should reflect your brand values …but your design is not your brand.

“Determine who you are and what your brand is, and what you’re not. The rest of it is just a lot of noise.”
– Geoffrey Zakarian.

Your brand is the sum of all parts of your business personified. We’ll start to unwrap brand building in the next marketing post.

*People also confuse branding with marketing, and marketing with advertising, but again, those are posts for another time.

Author: Andrew Moore
Title: Director of Marketing
Contact: [email protected]


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